A NEW national survey has shown that enjoyment is the biggest driver to sport participation, and that active children are happier, more resilient and more trusting people.

In the second part of Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey, in which over 130,000 children and 100,000 parents were questioned between September 2017 and July 2018, the reasons for children taking part in and dropping out of sport was the main focus.

The research, published this week, focused on the five elements of physical literacy – enjoyment, confidence, competence, understanding and knowledge – and identifies which have the biggest impact on increasing levels of activity, mental wellbeing, resilience and social trust across England.

The five key findings are:

Physically literate children and young people are more likely to be active

Physical literacy has five elements – enjoyment, confidence, competence, understanding and knowledge. The more elements present, the more active a child or young person is likely to be. 

Enjoyment is the biggest driver of activity

While all of the reported attitudes make a difference, enjoying sport and physical activity makes the biggest difference to activity levels.

Physically literate children and young people are happier, more resilient and more trusting of other children and young people.

The more elements of physical literacy present, the higher the levels of happiness, resilience and social trust.

Physical literacy declines with age

As children and young people grow older, they report lower levels of enjoyment, confidence, competence and understanding.

There are important inequalities that must be tackled

Girls and those from less affluent families are less likely to enjoy being active.

The full report is here.

The Observatory for Sport in Scotland is discussing plans with various bodies for similar national surveys in Scotland that for the first time will identify sport participation rates in every community, and assess how and why people of all ages are attracted to, and drop out of sport, at key stages in life. We will also publish our first major research into current and future forecasted trends in sport participation in Scotland in May, 2019.

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